The Monroe Transfer – I Dreamt I Was A Hammer And Everything Was Glass

The Monroe Transfer is a group I discovered nearly by accident, but boy am I glad I did. I suppose you could call their music post-rock, but when dealing with this group I’d much prefer to eschew genre labels entirely and just call this music beautiful. Simply put, this group can put music together in a way that not many bands I’ve heard can. Every note seems to have been perfectly tailored for maximum emotional impact, and it’s for that reason that this single, 20 minute track is every bit as satisfying as a full length album.

The track begins with some very faint and almost sinister sounding string ambience. A lone violin soon takes the stage to set up some melodic strains before it is rejoined by a cello, which builds upon the violin melody in a way that is simultaneously very simple and very satisfying. What I assume is a viola comes in next to further elaborate on this simple melody before some guitar enters to create a very peaceful atmosphere. Strings enter behind this guitar atmosphere to give this section of the track an ethereal feeling. The strings crescendo behind the guitar to create a feeling of great intensity before dropping down to almost nothing as the guitar goes silent and a bassline enters. After a little while the bass and the guitar have a nice little duet backed again by the strings, which are again used to great effect to control the emotion of the track.

This part of the track continues for a bit before seamlessly transitioning into a more uptempo section with some minimalist percussion, a guitar line bordering on a riff and more of that beautiful violin. This section of the track is among the noisiest and loudest I’ve heard from The Monroe Transfer, but it’s still amazingly arranged and despite the amalgamation of sounds it never sounds chaotic. After a bit the original violin/cello melody returns, this time backed by percussion and played with a bit more force than the first time around. This is interspersed with some dueting between distorted guitar and tremolo strings. Finally it all comes crashing down on a final chord and we’re left with nothing but some lonely strains of violin backed by some minimal bass and guitar. Even though the two backing instruments are playing what sounds like loose, improvised lines, the track as a whole never loses its sense of cohesion, even as the drummer begins to go crazy on his set. Over it all the violin plays an augmented version of the first melody, which eventually spirals off to crazy heights before dropping to just guitar, which now plays a low, insistent, distorted riff. All of the other instruments join back in to reprise themes from earlier in the track, and it is on this note that the track ends, finishing abruptly but powerfully.

I really need to drive home the point that you can’t multitask while listening to this music. This music demands the listener’s full attention to truly reveal the incredible precision in its arrangement and the incredible pacing of its construction. If you are even remotely interested in the genre of post-rock (or just beautiful music in general) then you owe it to yourself to listen to this right now.


1.I dreamt I was a hammer & everything was glass


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